"I have had Lymphoedema in my left arm for over 2 years, since surgery for breast cancer. I have struggled with compression bandaging and wear a compression sleeve. I was delighted when Lorraine Brown CNS at the The Beacon Lymphoedema Service in Guildford offered me to try one of the four new machines they had just purchased to try and help with the Lymphoedema"
... The machine is a portable Deep Oscillation machine from PhysioPod. I borrowed the device for a month and used it for half an hour each day.
I was amazed at the difference it made. My forearm was softer and my tennis elbow had seemed to improve. When I took the machine back, Lorraine measured my arm again; we were delighted with the percentage of fluid reduction. I then attended an LSN Meeting where Mary and Julie from PhysioPod were presenting Deep Oscillation and showing this very same machine. The presentation was excellent with videos from other people having used the machine and the amazing results. I decided there and then that I was going to purchase my own. I called PhysioPod and I received my very own machine with my own personalised card the next morning based on frequencies and timings recommended by Lorraine. I would certainly recommend the Deep Oscillation machine from PhysioPod. What amazing service from two positive ladies.
What is DEEP OSCILLATION and is it proven to help Lymphoedema?
DEEP OSCILLATION® is a patented electromechanical therapeutic procedure using resonant vibration of the tissue with DEEP OSCILLATION® equipment from Physiomed, Germany. A special design makes it possible, using electrostatic attraction and friction, "to produce mechanical vibrations in treated tissues of the body, not only at the skin on the surface but also in deeper tissues" (Brenke and Siems 1996). Schönfelder and Berg (1991) refer to a "penetrating vibration and pumping effect deep into the tissue". The frequency can be varied in the range from 5-250 Hz. The treatment applicator and the patient are connected to the equipment (voltage source). A vinyl film between the applicator and the patient functions as a dielectric. This results in a weakly conducting capacitative layer between the contact surfaces. In action, pulsed electrostatic attractions draw the tissue to the applicator and release it at the rhythm of the chosen frequency. The therapist sets the pressure gradient, speed and direction of the movements. The patient can treat himself if appropriate. The treatment procedure is characterised by minimal external mechanical effects, which allows it to be used in cases of acute pain, fresh injuries and in treatment of wounds. Numerous pilot studies have demonstrated pain reduction, minimisation of oedema and anti-fibrotic effects. It is commonly used for the treatment of Lymphoedema (Jahr, S., Schoppe, B. and Reißhauer A. (2008) Effect of treatment with low intensity and extremely low frequency electrostatic fields (Deep Oscillation®) on breast tissue and pain in patients with secondary breast lymphoedema. J. Rehabil. Med. 40, 645-650). For other study references see section References above)
What is Lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema occurs when the lymphatic system does not work properly. This results in the long-term swelling of part or parts of the body. It can can be classified as Primary or Secondary, depending on the cause. It may be present at birth, develop at puberty or in mid-life. Secondary lymphoedema may occur following treatment for cancer, surgery, radiation therapy, recurrent infections or trauma.
What happens in the body when Lymphoedema is present?
When the lymph nodes or vessels are blocked the lymph fluid is unable to pass through them, the extra tissue fluid cannot then drain away normally and it builds up. This causes (oedema). Although not reversible, (because the causes cannot be reversed) an early diagnosis is very helpful for managing its progression.
What type of massage is advised?
Manual Lympathic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. It is a specialised massage technique designed to stimulate the flow of fluid and reduce swelling and must only be performed by a qualified practitioner. DEEP OSCILLATION® can be combined with MLD techniques. To read a list of practitioners combining the two therapies for effective results please click here
Simple Lymphatic Drainage (SLD) massage (including deep breathing exercise) is performed by the sufferer. The SLD technique is taught to sufferers by MLD & Lymphoedema Practitioners. It is vitally important that sufferers and relatives are taught the correct technique, in order to push the lymph fluid and its contents in the correct direction of flow. Self treatment can be combined with DEEP OSCILLATION® using the DEEP OSCILLATION® Personal SPORTS - to read more testmonials click here
Controlling and managing symptoms - self care can greatly help improve quality of life:
Making changes to diet following advice from a practitioner
Keeping to a healthy weight and avoiding smoking.
Wearing properly measured compression garments
Performing remedial exercises which are designed to activate the muscles in the limbs to improve lymph drainage
Regular skin care routines to prevent infection and injury
Qualified Lymphoedema Practioners offer MLD and Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy (DLT) which will include:
Multilayer lymphoedema bandaging (MLLB) and compression garments to move the fluid out of the affected limb.
Lymphoedema Kinesio taping - a special stretchy tape is applied directly onto the skin. It gently lifts the top layer of skin, allowing the superficial lymph fluid to flow more easily. (Combined with bandaging/and or compression).
Skin care and exercises.